Corps Still Plans To Continue Deployment Of The Aircraft In Japan
The Marine Corps has concluded its investigation into an accident involving a V-22 Osprey in the Kingdom of Morocco which resulted in the fatal injury of two marines in April of this year. Two others were seriously injured.
The official report, which was due to be released Friday, was leaked to the Associated Press. The document says that the pilot and co-pilot ... who were the survivors of the accident ... failed to follow proper flight procedures. It also cites high winds as a significant factor in the accident. No mechanical issues were found with the aircraft, nor was there any intentional neglect or official misconduct.
The report recommends some safety changes in the tilt-rotor aircraft, including one that would require all persons on board the aircraft to be strapped into their seats, rather than attached to tethers. The two crewmembers who were fatally injured were attached to such tethers, which allow them to move around in the aircraft. The pilot and co-pilot were strapped into the aircraft.
Another recommendation is an update to flight field manuals to provide more details on the transition from vertical flight to conventional configuration in a tail wind. The co-pilot's turn downwind during transition flight was cited as a factor in the accident.
In a statement released Thursday, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos said that the Corps is "committed to forward deploying our strongest capabilities in the defense of our Japanese allies. As such, the Marine Corps is in the process of replacing its aging CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters – across the Marine Corps as well as in Japan – with new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
"As the senior pilot on active duty today in the United States military, I personally attest that there is no more definitive way to strengthen the aviation capability of our allied forces than to forward deploy these remarkably capable aircraft to the Asia-Pacific region as soon as possible. The deployment of the MV-22 to Japan, and its eventual location on Okinawa, is critical to the United States' fulfillment of its responsibilities under our mutual security treaty. The first twelve MV-22s arrived at Iwakuni, Japan on July 23, 2012.
"Introduction of the Osprey into the Asia-Pacific region will allow the US to deliver to its allies, the unprecedented capabilities the Marine Corps brings with its MV-22s in terms of range, lift, and speed," General Amos continued. "Whether swiftly moving forces in response to a security threat, or transporting disaster victims and delivering relief supplies in a natural disaster such as during Operation Tomodachi, the Osprey will fly markedly faster, farther, while carrying more than the vintage 40-year-old CH-46 helicopter that it will replace. As our two governments work through the details of basing the MV-22, I remain confident in the aircraft's safety and capabilities and the significant advantages its deployment will bring to the Japanese and American people."
(V22 Osprey photo from file)